Episode 3

Do you really need a contractor?

Published on: 23rd October, 2019

Do you really need a contractor?

Architect Karl Leabo explains why he believes that hiring a (good) contractor will save you headache, time and money.

Episode Recap

  • The best outcome is when you hire a contractor early on in the design process
  • Contracting your renovation can be a full time job, even a project that seems small.
  • What restaurant would your contractor be?
  • Some projects require a higher end contractor, some do not
  • When calling for references, ask about their subcontractors
  • Living in the house through a renovation
  • Budget and scope creep- the contractor can help with this if he gets on board early.
  • Make sure you’ve got a 5 to 15% construction contingency
  • Bathrooms and kitchens may seem like small projects, but they involve all of the trades and are complicated.
  • Don’t put off the renovation too long, get it done before you decide to sell it so that you can enjoy it.

Learning from the mistakes of others

Don’t rush into the project, live in the house for a while if you possibly can. 

About this episode’s guest

Karl Leabo has more than 35 years of experience as a project designer and planner, focusing primarily on the college/university and sports/recreation markets. A key member of CHA's sports practice, his projects have ranged from the master planning and programming of new indoor and outdoor developments to the renovation and expansion of existing facilities at campuses nationwide. His expertise covers virtually every form of sports activity undertaken by the competitive athlete and recreational enthusiast. 

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Thanks to Ray Bernoff, the editor of the show. www.RayBernoff.com

The music is Blueberry Festival Footrace by David Fisher and performed by Hanneke Cassel www.hannekecassel.com

Cover Art by Sam White www.samowhite.com

If you need architectural advice, contact me through my website at www.demiosarchitects.com

Email questions for future episodes to thehousemaven@talkinghomerenovations.com

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About the Podcast

Talking Home Renovations with the House Maven
the professionals discuss all aspects of home renovations
Are you planning a home renovation and worried that you don’t know what you are doing? Talking Home Renovations with the House Maven is an educational and entertaining podcast that will ease your fears. Join architect Katharine MacPhail as she interviews contractors, vendors, other architects and homeowners and gathers tips and cautionary tales about home renovations. Learn about materials, what to expect, what to avoid and how to make the most of the money that you will spend on your renovation.
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About your host

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Katharine MacPhail

Katharine White MacPhail, Principal at dEmios Architects in Arlington, MA has been
working on residential projects of all sizes in the greater Boston area since 1996. She is
sought after for her ability to turn residential projects around quickly, and for her
competent yet light-hearted approach to architecture. Her specialty is transforming the
older homes so prevalent in Massachusetts, bringing them to the next level without
sacrificing their character. MacPhail shares her knowledge and experience through her
renovation seminars and now her podcast.
MacPhail is a registered architect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a
Leed Accredited Professional. She received a Master of Architecture from Southern
California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in January of 1996. While at SCI-Arc,
she pursued projects and theory related to the study of the architecture of the
"everyday". Upon completing her MArch, Katharine was an adjunct studio instructor
for the Department of Architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.
Katharine also holds a BA in Art History from Mount Holyoke College where she fell
in love with classical antiquities and later completed some graduate work in Historic
Preservation at Boston University before pursuing a career in architecture. MacPhail
has been involved with local politics for a number of years, and just finished 13
years of homeschooling her 3 children, plans parties and events for a number of
non-profit groups, serves as the Secretary for the Boston Scottish Fiddle Club and
plays with the Boston Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. She is the manager for the all-girl
Celtic string quintet Scottish Fish.